e-News 9/8/17

e-News 9/8/17

  • Appropriations Committee Speeds Aid to Harvey Victims
  • Security Grants For New Jersey
  • Remember 9-11
  • The Harbor Deepening Project Payoff: A New Era for Our Port
  • Salute: Bob and Helen Cleary of Mendham!


Appropriations Committee Speeds Aid to Harvey Victims

With another major hurricane bearing down on Florida and other states along the southeast coast of the United States, Congress acted quickly - and in a bipartisan way - this week to replenish federal disaster assistance accounts which have been exhausted by the rescue, response and recovery needs of the victims of Hurricane Harvey.  

Harvey caused catastrophic damage across Texas and Louisiana with tens of thousands of people still in shelters. Hundreds of thousands of homes damaged. Businesses destroyed.  Lives uprooted. 

In this context, my House Appropriations Committee drafted and finalized House Resolution 502 within hours of receiving a formal request from the Trump Administration. The funds in our bill will be used to continue life-saving recovery missions, help start housing repair, and provide timely low-interest loans to businesses and homeowners to start the rebuilding process.  The needs of the struggling people along the Gulf Coast are immediate and our response has been rapid. 

H.Res. 502 contained the full amount requested by the Administration – totaling $7.85 billion in emergency funding, most of the funding destined for the Federal Emergency Management Agency’s (FEMA) Disaster Relief Fund (DRF). This will ensure FEMA can meet all current needs for response and recovery efforts, while also preparing for additional disasters.  DRF monies are also being used to help residents in Florida and other southeastern states prepare for Hurricane Irma, a dangerous storm that has already devastated many Caribbean islands.

The Senate boosted the bill’s funding to $15 billion by adding over $7 billion in Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds which communities use to rebuild.

This legislation is the first step in what will be long and difficult recoveries.

As our fellow Americans pick up the pieces and rebuild their lives, we all must come together to support the victims, volunteers, and first responders on the ground. And Congress must ensure that the federal government provides the help needed to continue this recovery process.

With FEMA resources running low and Hurricane Irma on Florida’s and the South’s door, providing this additional funding is all the more important. As I’ve said before, my Committee is ready and willing to address any additional funding needs that may arise as a result of Hurricane Harvey, Irma, or any other major disaster - - that we will be there for them every step of the way. My committee will continue to keep close watch and will remain in contact with the Administration to ensure that funding is available for recovery today and months down the road. In their time of greatest need, we will come through for them as well.

After all, this is about helping people survive and put their lives back together.

Security Grants For New Jersey

FEMA is providing significant additional security funding to New Jersey and various organizations. The funding is being made available through several competitive grant programs funded through the FY 2017 Homeland Security Appropriations bill last April.  

These grants are evidence that our Appropriations Committee takes its role in safeguarding our homeland and protecting our citizens seriously. Through our annual Homeland Appropriations bill, we fully support our men and women on the frontline lines who work tirelessly to keep us safe while providing the necessary funding for critical technology and local programs that enhance our capabilities and preparedness.

Specifically, FEMA is providing:

$19.7M in port security grants to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and other first responder organizations in both states.

$21.8M in total to New Jersey for transit security grants, including:

  • $16.3M for New Jersey Transit;
  • $2.3M for Port Authority of New York and New Jersey;
  • $3.2M for Delaware River Port Authority;

In addition, non-profit organizations in the New Jersey/New York Urban Area will receive $3.8M for infrastructure “hardening” and other physical security enhancements to nonprofit organizations that are at high risk of a terrorist attack.  You will recall that synagogues, Jewish Community Centers and schools, including several in New Jersey, were targeted earlier this year in a series of bomb threats.

In our most recent FY 2018 Homeland Security funding bill, my Appropriations Committee doubled the funding for the Nonprofit Security Grant Program to a total of $50 million. 

Remember 9-11

We will pause next Monday to remember the 3,000 innocent victims – including more than 700 of them New Jerseyans – whose lives were cut short by the terrorist attacks in New York City, Washington, D.C. and Pennsylvania in 2001.

We also honor those who bravely risked their lives to save others—the first responders who rushed into the burning buildings and the passenger-patriots on Flight 93 who declared, ‘Let’s roll.’

I regularly remind my congressional colleagues that I come from the ‘9-11 State’ known as New Jersey and I take very seriously my responsibilities to protect and defend the United States from enemies ‘foreign and domestic.’

Today, we are very much a nation at war, largely because of the events of 9-11-01.  Men and women of our Armed Forces are still doing the work of freedom and security in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and many other parts of the world.  We see the character and resolve of America in these brave young people.  And we are grateful for their service and sacrifice, and that of their families. 

Worth a Read: “An Alliance of 67 Years is Tested by North Korea” by Choe Sang-Hun in Tuesday’s New York Times.  Read it here.

The Harbor Deepening Project Payoff: A New Era for Our Port

Yesterday morning, the super-sized container ship CMA CGM Theodore Roosevelt became the first such colossal vessel to sail under the Bayonne Bridge and into the Port of New York and New Jersey.  The Roosevelt is four football field long and 15 stories tall.  It carries over 5,000 cargo containers.

The ship would not have been able to make its historic maiden voyage had it not been for the recently-completed restructuring of the Bayonne Bridge and the 50-foot harbor deepening project which I was proud to support through my work on the Appropriations Committee.  The Harbor Deepening project capped a 20-year cooperative endeavor that will touch the lives of 23 million Americans and potentially boost the fortunes of every manufacturer, wholesaler, retailer, transportation company, ‘Mom and Pop’ business and job-seekers up and down the east coast of the United States!

Because the port is an economic engine of New Jersey, our goal all along has been to attract the world’s biggest ships and cargo to our port and the jobs and commercial activity they provide.  Now it looks as if the T. Roosevelt and its sister vessels are expected to soon be frequent visitors to our Port of New York and New Jersey.

Read more about this historic voyage here.

Salute: Congratulations to Bob and Helen Cleary, co-Grand Marshals of the Mendham Labor Day Parade.  And thank you for your long and valuable service to the Borough! 

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